Abney Park Cemetery is one of the Victorian, ‘magnificent seven’ metropolitan cemeteries and the cemetery specifically catering for the non-conformist community in London. In common with the other ‘magnificent seven’ sites, Abney Park had fallen into progressive disrepair after it closed as a burial ground. The site had been leased to a Trust by Hackney Council but this arrangement had not provided clarity in respect of the fundamental issues of dereliction facing the site.

London Borough of Hackney

January 2014 to July 2014

Project Objectives

Abney Park Cemetery was in a parlous condition and the continuing functioning of the site as public open space was threatened by the risk of collapse of key elements such as the Chapel and boundary walls. JSA was commissioned by the London Borough of Hackney to conduct an assessment of funding and governance for the site and produce recommendations. The objective was to safeguard the site as a highly valued public space, preserve the balance between its cultural and natural heritage assets and secure the support of a diverse group of stakeholders for a new plan for the site.

Issues, Challenges and Outcomes

Abney Park has a diverse group of stakeholders with complementary but sometimes divergent views around how the site should be managed. The relationship between the Trust and the council had become problematical. The JSA report suggested a new approach to funding and governance that could help the site to become self-sustaining over time and secure the funding required to guarantee the site’s future. As a consequence of the report, the council determine to bring the site back into direct management and to submit a funding application to the NLHF. This resulted in an award of a £2.5 million grant for capital works.


  • Site assessment and appraisal
  • Historical research
  • Business planning
  • Consultation and engagement